Japanese firm ups investment near formerly flooded industrial park


PATHUM THANI, March 5 – A Japanese agricultural equipment manufacturing company increased its investment near the previously flooded Navanakorn Industrial Estate in this province despite possible future flood risks, for it believes the Thai government can handle the flood response in case of an unlikely emergency.

Vice Industry Minister Suphap Kleekachai presided at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Sodick Co.,Ltd. for its 37 rai farm machinery factory expansion at Chumnumsap Industrial Park, valued at Bt800 million.

Sodick’s factory expansion will be complete by September. Its production for the first phase can start in October with 120 workers employed.

Ninety per cent of the machinery manufactured is for export.

The firm lost over Bt3 billion during last year’s flood at Navanakorn Industrial Estate. According to Mr Suphap, the firm’s investment reflected the confidence of its investors in Thailand’s flood prevention measures.

Sodick (Thailand) President Hideki Tsukamoto said although the new plant location has some flood risk, relocating the company’s personnel and its production base is not easy.

He explained that he was not entirely assured of the the Thai government’s flood prevention system, but believed it could ultimately handle the situation in case of flood. Mr Tsukamoto said Thailand has flood insurance for industrial entrepreneurs.

He noted that Thailand could become the production base for machinery production when the ASEAN Community takes effect in 2015.

Regarding Thailand’s Bt300 minimum wage policy, he said the company will increase its working efficiency in order to cut costs instead of adjusting product prices.

Sodick has invested in Thailand since 1988 when it opened at Navanakorn Industrial Estate on 64 rai of land with the registered capital of Bt500 million and the employment of 1,000 workers. Its sales volume annually reaches around Bt5 billion.